Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Summary - Part 1

Just as a start, here is a summary of the Indian holiday –

We arrived about lunch time in the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi. After a night flight, we both felt the need of a leg-stretch so we went out of the gate and into India! The road was incredibly noisy with masses of traffic. A Sheikh tuktuk driver attached himself to us and was incredibly nice about trying to persuade us that we needed a lift! We picked our way along, half on the pavement, half in the road, due to pipes being laid across from the wall to the roadside. We reached the India Arch, a war memorial. It was an introduction to the hard sell/begging that we were to get very used to. We then gave in to our friendly Sheikh and let him take us up to the Lutyans buildings from the old Raj, before going back to the hotel.

Next day we visited the Red Fort. After that, as well as other places, we went to see Ghandi’s tomb. Of course he isn’t buried there – it is the site of his cremation, in a wide open area that allowed huge numbers to be present. It has since been landscaped and has a terrific atmosphere.

Friday, we flew to Udaipur, a very beautiful place of palaces and lake. Our hotel, the Udaivilas, was as impressive as the rest! It was opened in 2001 and is all open areas, running water, plants and grass as well as very comfortable rooms, each with its own outside area. All on one level. The standard of service was incredibly high. Next day, we visited various places but mainly the City Palace, a large and beautiful place along the edge of the lake. There is a collection of crystal, including an entire bed, tables, chairs etc. A ride on the lake took us round an island with an ex-palace on it, which is now a hotel and to another island, where they were preparing for the marriage of the daughter of an American to an American man. When we went back to the landing, they were waiting for his arrival, with an elephant for him to ride and decorated horses and music. Don’t quite know where he was going to ride to – he had to go to the island in a boat, don’t think the elephant was going to swim!

That evening we had dinner in the Island Palace Hotel. That was the one failure. The food was fairly OK but they gave every impression of not wanting us there. The service was appalling (most unusual for India) and we ended up having a major falling out. The agents are omitting it from future groups.

We went next to Jodhpur – the blue city. All Brahmins painted their houses blue. There was only one of them once upon a time but they have bred somewhat since then! The town is dominated by a very large fort, standing 393 feet above it. Here we had our first chance to study a collection of Miniature paintings. We had already had a demo (followed by hard sell!) so knew what we were looking at. The picture is of an ordinary size but the work is miniature, The brushes used can have only 1 or 2 squirrel hairs, and the lines are incredibly fine. I came to love them. On the way back to the hotel, we visited our first bazaar. Teeming people, tuktuks, cows, stalls, barbers, food providers, bright colours………

The next day, we all boarded jeeps and set out into their version of a desert. It is sandy, but there is quite a lot of scrub growing. We visited several places – a school, with 2 groups, one the equivalent of Reception and Yr 1, the other a little older. There were quite a lot of children in the former, but not many in the second. The assumption was that many older children are working It was interesting to see cards with pictures and the Hindi word! Next we visited a village where they made jars etc out of a fawn clay followed again by a hard sell! Then to another place where they were weaving carpets. After the demo, another hard sell. And at some point, we saw the opium ceremony, They produce a frequently filtered solution, which we all had a sip of!
End of Part 1.


Zoë said...

Truely, Madly, Deeply ..... jealous! Which rug was it G bought? I am looking forward to the next installment!

Frances said...

This is so beautiful, and I am very much looking forward to as many parts as you will be posting.

It's funny but way back in the CL days, my very first posted question on one of the areas provided, was asking about whether anyone could offer advice on planning a trip to India, with an emphasis on seeing lots of textiles.

So the year rolls by, and I am having the immense treat of seeing what you have seen.

Pondside said...

Gorgeous photos - am looking forward to more! India is another dream of mine - just have to persuade The Great Dane.

Wooly Works said...

Ooooh! I would love to visit India!! The photos make me groan, they're so beautiful. I've heard it's obnoxiously hot there during the wrong part of the year, but I'd be willing to chance it. Too bad about the Island Hotel. It's such a out of the ordinary looking place that I'd hate to take it off the agenda.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Good grief you and G certainly packed a lot in and this is only part one of your trip - I expect you will be regaling us with stories from your trip for months to come. I shall expect you to bring loads of photos if you come up for the next shoot.

lampworkbeader said...

I am sooo jealous. More pictures please.